Somaliland CyberSpace

Report on Somaliland Election 2010 June 26th

SOMALILAND WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (SWLA)
Email: swlawyers@gmail.com/swlaassociation@yahoo.com
Contact: +252-2-4414244/4422666
Compiled by: - Liban Abdi Hassan

Acronyms
GCE General Certified Education
IRI International Republic Institute
NEC national Electoral Commission
SONSAF Somaliland Non State Actors

Introduction

Hundred of thousands of Somali-Landers turned out to vote in their fourth election, and although wanting international recognition, did not wait to continue to build their nascent democracy. The international community should credit such democratic progress and the example it sets for others.

As stated previously, the June 26 election went smoothly; however, Election Day is only one part of a larger and longer fourth part process, which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, Election Day voting, and vote counting and post-election adjudication resulting in acceptance of legitimate results. Peace has been the hallmark of Somaliland for the past 20 years.

In casting their ballots during Saturdayís presidential election, Somali-Landers showed their enthusiasm and support for democracy and their homeland. The pre-election environment and administration were generally conducive to a credible process. In taking their campaigns to every region of Somaliland, the candidates believed that they were able to get their message across to the population and in the independent media.

Somalilandís National Election Commission (NEC) deserves much credit. The establishment of a voter registry and cards in particular were a step forward for the election process. The set-up and mechanics for Election Day were also handled well. Polling site officials carried out their work in a conscientious manner. For the first-time ever worldwide, and the international observers was confident the election process.

However, this well-run election was not without some difficulties. A significant number of polling sites did not post the needed alphabetical division of voterís last names, which led to early confusion on where to cast votes.

This election was originally to be held in 2008 and was repeatedly delayed. In any democracy, old or new, such delays undermine the political process and elicit distrust among the citizens. This was unfortunate since Somaliland held a constitutional referendum in a 2001, and three elections (local, presidential and parliamentary) from 2002-2005; all were deemed acceptable. The last presidential election in 2003 was decided by a mere 80 votes and the defeated candidates accepted the result, and 2005 parliamentary elections resulted in an opposition-dominated legislature. Many other countries and politicians can learn from Somalilandís example, but only if elections continue to be held regularly and in a timely fashion.

Background

Somaliland is a self-declared republic located in the northwestern region of the former Republic of Somalia. It shares borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia and the capital, Hargeisa, is home to an estimated population of 500,000 Somali-landers. Although an official census has not been taken in Somaliland since independence in 1960, it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million people live within its borders. Somalilandís largest source of income, other than remittances from Somali-Landers living abroad, is its livestock; most Somali- Landers are nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists. In addition, virtually all Somali-Landers are Sunni Muslims. Somali society is organized around the clan system. Unlike most African countries, Somaliland is ethnically, culturally and religiously homogenous. However, divisions exist within society based on ancestral lineages, which are the basis for clans and sub-clans. The largest clan in Somaliland is the Isaq, which is concentrated around Somalilandís relatively densely-populated central plateau. Other regions of Somaliland are dominated by less-populous clans, such as the Gadabursi (western Somaliland, along the Ethiopian border) and the Dhulbhante and Warsengeli (eastern Somaliland, near Puntland). (IRI September 29 2005)

Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC)

National Electoral Commission of Somaliland which was established on the Presidential and Local Council elections law (Law No. 20/2001) on January 21, 2001 is an independent Body.

The Commission consists of seven members who are nominated by different institutions (three members were nominated by the late president of Somaliland, two were nominated by the House of Elders and two were nominated by the opposition parties). By law the appointment of the members of the commission must be approved by the House of Representative. This was done on January 21, 2002. Their term of office is five years.

The Commissionís statutory duty is to organize and conduct free and fair elections in Somaliland. Although the responsibility of the commission is enormous, yet its main functions can be summarized as:.

1. Undertake the registration of the voters
2. Set the dates of the election
3. Set the number and the location of the polling stations;
4. Appoint the staff of the Central office and those of the offices of the regions and districts and polling stations;
5. Conduct and oversee the election

Political Parties in Somaliland

There are three political parties in Somaliland and they are;

∑ Udub Party (United Democratic Peopleís Party), the ruling party led by president Dahir Rayaale Kahin. He became the third president of Somaliland on May 5, 2002, after the death of Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal. He won elections on April 14, 2003, representing the Ururka Dimuqraadiga Umada Bahawday (UDUB), or United Democratic Peopleís Party, and was sworn into office on May 16, 2003. (internet sources) His previous posts include a diplomat at the Somali Embassy in Djibouti; he was also in intelligence; governor of Awdal; a businessman; and vice president of Somaliland (1997 Ė 2002).

∑ Kulmiye Party (Unity), the party was registered in May 2002, and run for the December 2002 local elections, winning enough votes to become one of the three permanent political parties in Somaliland. Itís the main opposition party and its led by Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud (Siranyo).

Mohamed attended the secondary schools of Sheikh and Amoud from 1946-1957. He passed the advanced level GCE examinations in London from 1958-1960. He attended college at the University of Manchester, England and earned an Honors Bachelorís Degree in Economics (1960-63). He completed his Masterís Degree in Economics from the University of Manchester in 1966.(ibid).

Silanyo served: ∑ as a junior official at the Ministry of Planning and Coordination in Mogadishu, Somalia from 1965 to 1969,
∑ the Minister of Planning and Coordination (1969-1973), the Minister of Commerce (1973-1978 and 1980-1982),
∑ The Chairman of the National Economic Board (1978-1980).
∑ Chairman of the Somali National Movementís UK branch from 1982 to 1990, and was that organizationís longest-serving chairperson.
∑ From 1993 to 1997 he was a member of the House of Representatives of Somaliland.
∑ as the Somaliland Minister of Finance from 1997 to 1999, in which position he initiated a program of fiscal reform.
∑ From 1999 to 2000, he worked as Somalilandís Minister of Planning and Coordination, a position from which he resigned in 2001. (ibid)
∑ Ucid party (Justice and Welfare Party of Somaliland) is the third party, and itís led by Faisal Ali Warabe. (Ibid).

Faisal Ali Warabe was born in 1948 in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He earned an MSc in Engineering at St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia in 1973. From 1997-2001, he enrolled at the Helsinki University Faculty of Social Sciences, in the Social Policy Department. He has been a regional director in Somaliaís Ministry of Public Works. Faysal Ali Waraabe rose to the main platform of the Somaliland politics when he single handedly opposed appointing president in a clan convention ( shir beeled), by creating the first opposition party in Somaliland.

Mr Waraabe is charismatic politician who is known to deliver powerful, persuasive speeches. The chairman of UCID party travels frequently to spread Somalilandís agenda in becoming recognized, independent country. He is someone that is well known, with connections in Western countries. Faysal Ali is also an activist from clanism; he is someone that includes all in his speeches message that discourages people against clanism.

Being the Chairman and member of the core founders of the UCID party, Faysal Ali has transformed the Party to a modern, somewhat very close to western political parties. UCID, with Chairman Faysal are proactive campaigners, who hold seminars to teach citizens of the objectives of their party. Faysal Ali has managed to mobilize enough supporters for his party to become the party that is assumed to win the upcoming party.

He speaks Somali, English, Russian and some Finnish.
Previous works and portfolios: (ibid)
∑ Regional Director, Ministry of Public Works, Somalia
∑ Director of Planning and Building, Ministry of Public Works
∑ Chief Engineer, Mogadishu City, Somalia
∑ President of a private construction Company (AYAAN)
∑ 2001 Chairman of Somaliland Society in Europe
∑ 2001 Chairman of Somaliland Association in Finland
∑ 2001 Chairman of Somali Social Democrats Party
∑ 2000 Chairman of Somaliland Association in Finland
∑ 1997 Chairman of Somali Social Democrats Party

Campaigning process

The official campaign period began 23 days before Election Day and ended 48 hours before Election Day. The Electoral Law addressed one of the main concerns of the 2002 and 2003 elections: the alleged use by UDUB of public resources to conduct its campaigns. In the 2010 campaign, all parties were to be given equal access to state owned media and public assembly grounds, to be allocated in consultation with the NEC.

All parties were prohibited from using public property to advance themselves. However, article 23 of the law also gave significant power to town mayors in regulating campaign events. In order to hold a rally in a particular town, a party had to inform the mayor at least 48 hours in advance. If two or more parties requested to hold rallies on the same day, the mayor could approve one partyís rally and order the other party or parties to rally on different days. No two parties could hold rallies in the same town on the same day.

As stipulated in the Somaliland constitution, citizens will chose from three candidates who have been nominated by their respective political parties, and the candidate with the largest number of votes will win in a single round of elections. Somalilandís campaign regulations reflect a conscientious effort to reduce violence among supporters of the various political parties. During the campaign period, the three political parties were allotted seven specific days each on which to conduct their campaign activities, starting on June 3 and ending on June 23. No two parties were allowed to campaign on the same day. Rallies, debates and any other public form of campaigning could only be conducted on the partyís specified days in an effort to avoid the possibility of violent outbreak between competing party supporters. A subject of utmost importance to the Somaliland government is peace. Given the violent crises raging for years in much of south-central Somalia, it is a source of great pride and concern to Somaliland that the government upholds a peaceful and inclusive electoral process. Fortunately, campaigning was relatively peaceful with only minor reports of intimidation by UDUB Party.

Interestingly, the three candidates currently vying for the Somaliland presidency are the same three candidates who competed in the 2003 presidential race. The incumbent, President Dahir Rayale Kahin, represents the UDUB party. Riyaleís main competitor in that election isMr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) from KULMIYE. Mr. Mohamed lost the 2003 elections by only 80 votes. The UCID political party nominated Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe as its presidential candidate. Also this year Mr. Ahmed from kulmiye party competed in this election the other two candidates. The main competitor of KULMIYE party was UDUB, but during the campaign peoples believe the main powerful powers are KULMIYE and UCID. Unfortunately, KULMIYE is the one who win the election and UDUB becomes the second position of the candidates while UCID is under UDUB party.

Election Day

According to international observers, the election proceeded calm, with a single incident reported in Sool region, where a female NEC member was killed by local anti-Somaliland militia. Turnout was estimated at 33% around noon, with no major complaints about fairness.( Onyiego, Michael 27 June 2010)

Opening of the Polling centers

According to the NEC training manual for election officials, all polling staff was to arrive at the polling station by 5:00 AM, by which time all necessary materials should have been received by the station chairman. Over the next hour, the chairman was to instruct all staff on their duties, including how to apply the clear, indelible ink to votersí fingers, and how to check inked fingers. The chairman was to ensure that the ballot box was empty, seal it in the presence of all election workers, and record the serial number of the seal in his register. All staff arrived at 6:00 AM, which would have given them a full hour to prepare for opening. Majority of the western part of Somaliland poling stations was opening a full complement of staff by 7:00 AM, when polls nationwide were scheduled to open.

Voting

Somalilandís NEC did a good job in organizing and executing Somalilandís presidential election. Most polling station officials and party agents carried out their duties diligently and with great dedication under extremely challenging circumstances. Members of the polling station staff was consisting five from NEC included a chairman, vice chairman, a secretary, inker person, and helper. Also one or two international observers, one local observers from SONSAF are stay in all polling stations and several security officers to maintain order outside the polling station. In addition, each political party was allowed to send up to two accredited poll watchers to observe voting procedures in every station. Women were represented on polling station staffs in many districts.

According to Somalilandís Election Law and the NEC training manual, the voting process was to take place as follows: voters form two queues outside the polling station (one each for men and women), assisted by security officers. As each voter enters the polling station, a polling official checks his or her fingers to ensure that he or she has not yet voted, and then applies indelible ink to his or her pinky finger. The voter then proceeds to the registration table, where his or her name is entered into the voter registration book by the secretary. Afterward, the chairman stamps a ballot paper, hands it to the voter and explains how to vote. The voter then enters the booth, marks the ballot with a pen, folds it, exits the booth, and places it in the ballot bag before leaving the station.

Closing of the polling centers

6:00 pm was the official closing time, almost the poling centers were closed at the official time that was intended the National Electoral Commission. But few polling centers were delayed, because of the long queue and they was managed by limiting the queue

Results

After Five days on Somaliland fourth democratic election, July 1, 2010, the Somaliland National Election Commission announced that Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo had won the presidential election with 49.94 percent of the vote. The incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, received 33 percent. Silanyo can count on a majority in Somaliland's parliament his party has held since elections in 2005. Four persons were killed at a polling station in an area contested between Somaliland and Puntland. The election process was otherwise peaceful. (Mohamed Olad Hassan 2010-07-01).

Turnout was estimated at 33% around noon, with no major complaints about fairness. (ibid)

Summary of the 26 June 2010 Somaliland presidential election results
Candidate Running mate Party Votes %
Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo Abdirahman Saylici KULMIYE 266,906 49.59
Dahir Riyale Kahin Ahmed Yusuf Yasin UDUB 178,881 33.23
Faysal Cali Warabe Mohammad Rashid UCID 92,459 17.18
Valid votes 538,246 100.00
Invalid votes --------------------
Total 538,246 100.00
Electorate and turnout 1,069,914 50.31
Outcome

After the results were announced, Mr. Rayaale congratulated Silanyo and reiterated that he would step down. The Supreme Court must endorse the results within 15 days and the incumbent president hand over power within 30 days. Silanyo is to be sworn in by 26 July. Mr. Faisal Ali warabe from UCID is also congratulated the new president from kulmiye and he shows confidentiality of the result that was announced the National Electoral Commission

Conclusion

Somaliland is unite and determinate to maintain peace and stability because Provisional results shows that the opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo won with 50 per cent of the 538,000 valid votes cast, beating the incumbent UDUB party (33 per cent) and the UCID party (17 per cent). If there is a smooth transfer of power, it would be a rare achievement in the Horn of Africa region and will increase Somali Landersí arrogance in the peace and stability of their country.

Many of the lessons learnt and experience in this Somaliland election is clearly shows the international community to give international respect and recognition, and also itís a role model for neighboring countries and all Africans to have a free and fair democratic elections. During the campaign the Somaliland community is pulled out their patriotism and how much they needed to be change, people of Somaliland believes change and progressive. They are well known to protect and sustain peace and security The election was well organizing for staffs, voting materials and all the necessary things were complete. Somaliland National Electoral commission were organizing well strategic plan for the campaigning process that was regulating and reflecting a conscientious effort to reduce violence among supporters of the various political parties. Because the NEC was prohibited all part to use public property and planed a period of 21 days for the three political parties were allowed to campaign with seven specific days each on which to conduct their campaign activities, starting on June 3 and ending on June 23. No two parties were allowed to campaign on the same day.

Hence, all in all the election process was held peacefully, free and fair, and the three candidate of the political parties confirmed the result that was announced Somaliland National Electoral Commission with confident.

References

∑ IRI Ė Somaliland September 29, 2005 Parliamentary Election Assessment Report)
∑ Mohamed Olad Hassan. "Opposition candidate wins Somaliland election". http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hEv39LHaVN0pMPRdM pVCCHC8myawD9GME69G0. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
∑ Onyiego, Michael (26 June 2010). "Calm, High Turnout in Somaliland Elections Despite Isolated Clash". http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Voting- Underway-in-Somaliland-97221039.html. Retrieved 27 June 2010.